West Haven, CT 06516
Longtime industry executives Mike Hochlowski and John Uchmanowicz founded West Haven, CT-based New England Nonwovens (NEN), a manufacturer of needlepunch materials, in April 2009. The company got its start by purchasing the needlepunch operations of Deitsch Plastics.
Hochlowski is a veteran nonwovens management and marketing executive. Before starting NEN, he was a partner at Globetec Nonwovens in Maryland, prior to its acquisition by a larger company. Uchmanowicz has been in the nonwovens industry for 35 years, with experience in plant management and equipment installation, design and upgrades. He has held several upper management positions at major nonwovens companies in the U.S., most recently running Deitsch Plastics’ nonwoven division.
NEN manufactures materials for liquid filtration, healthcare, craft trade, cured-in-place pipe rehabilitation, vinyl substrate and other composites, and bedding. “We are experiencing steady and reasonable growth in each of these markets,” Hochlowski says.
The company’s capabilities include producing fabrics as light as 2.5 OSY to heavier weights up to 35 OPSY, manufacturing widths up to 180 inches and running a variety of fibers in 100% concentrations or blended. NEN is also equipped to make a needlepunch nonwoven with a scrim or a needlepunch composite with multiple layers. Other capabilities the company provides are heat setting, hot roll surface calendering and singeing.
Over the past five years, NEN has continuously upgraded its equipment to keep up with customer demands. Improvements have included finishing capabilities to allow production of micron rated filter media, systems to allow efficient processing of cotton felts and other items to allow higher throughput and improved quality assurance, according to Hochlowski.
Supplying mostly to North America, Hochlowski says NEN is enjoying increases with its existing accounts while also gaining accounts in its current industries. “We are both expanding our footprint in our existing markets as well as exploring some new market opportunities. Through word of mouth, trade show attendance and website responses we are exploring a number of new market opportunities,” he adds.
Currently, the company is looking to expand production capacity. Hochlowski and Uchmanowicz are looking to buy pre-owned production equipment as well as new equipment solutions, while also considering an acquisition. “We are looking to upgrade our overall capacity along the lines of our current capabilities,” Hochlowski says.
Setting the company apart is the fact that management is directly involved and immersed in every step of fabric production, along with communication and contact with customers. Hochlowski describes the capabilities as state-of-the-art. “We are very hands-on and direct with production and customer issues. New England Nonwovens has technically advanced production equipment, allowing us to process a broad range of synthetic and natural fibers in a wide variety of constructions,” he says
To Hochlowski, things are looking up in the industry. “It would seem to us the nonwovens industry, at least our part of it, is quite strong right now. We believe it is a very good time to be in nonwovens.”